Thursday, St. David's Center for Child and Family Development held a grand opening for its newly-remodeled Children's Mental Health Clinic and Autism Day Treatment suites. The changes make up phase one of an $11 million renovation project that aims to keep up with the growing needs of children identified with autism and mental health illness in the metro and statewide.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports one in 10 children struggle with severe mental illness. The Centers for Disease Control reports about one in 88 children are identified with an autism spectrum disorder.
The new mental health clinic includes seven assessment and treatment rooms and observation areas. Changes to the Autism Day Treatment wing include an occupational therapy gym and treatment room, observation area, new speech therapy rooms and work spaces.
The new spaces help St. David's staff achieve its goal of early identification and treatment of children with special needs.
"St. David's Center has an integrated approach so we're not doing just one thing," says Executive Director, Julie Sjordal. "We're not aiming our focus on just one, just early childhood education or just speech therapy or just mental health. We have this group of multi-disciplinary staff that are really looking at children from all angles."
Phase two of the renovation project requires a redesign of the campus; an expansion and addition of classrooms and treatment spaces and a transformation of other areas to better cater to the families that rely on St. David's.
"St. David's is closing in on $20 million in revenue and serves close to 3000 families," says former St. David's parent Frank Bennett. "Its reach is not only across the metro area, but across the state and even across the country in terms of its research and development of its programs."